Saginaw Golf Course put a lock on the door for the final time after the owners filed for bankruptcy.
Saginaw Golf Course Ltd. – run by Andy Byrne, Gary Byrne, Terry Byrne and Lori Byrne – filed on Oct. 14 with BDO Kitchener-Waterloo, ending the family-run business that was established more than a decade ago on Saginaw Parkway.
The Byrne’s started the double, nine-hole course before Andy and his associates sold Cambridge Golf and Country Club in 2006 to 3-M Golf Inc.
Along with Peter Copland and Associates, Andy ran the Clyde Road course for 21 years.
Mirna Krkic, senior state administrator at BDO Kitchener-Waterloo, said BDO can’t release the amount of debt Saginaw Golf Course Ltd. is facing, but trustees are putting together a plan to set a course for what will happen next for the business.
“People have been in contact with actually purchasing the assets of the company, but that’s where it is right now. There is a step-by-step process kind of a thing, so that’s the latest that I have in regards to that,” she said.
Andy offered a grim prognosis for the club in 2010 when he put together plans to revamp a portion of the course to a multi-purpose recreation facility and housing development.
“We’re a one-dimensional facility right now. You come here, you play golf, that’s it,” Byrne told the Times in 2010.
“We’re two nine-hole golf courses, but the model is not working for economic reasons.
“We definitely can’t keep going the way we’re going.”
The plan was to sell 14 of the 64 acres of land – a big chunk coming from the nine-hole Essex course – to a developer for an adult lifestyle community. The remaining 50 acres would contain the nine-hole, par 3 Vista course, tennis courts, batting cages, a mini-golf course and golfing academy.
The course operations and clubhouse was to move to Essex Point Drive, into the current maintenance building.
The only portion of the plan that came to fruition was selling the on-site Wall Street at Saginaw restaurant, which is now known as the Saginaw Grill & Catering. Restaurant owner Lori Ferreira said it is “business as usual” at Saginaw Grill and they won’t be affected by the bankruptcy.
Bryne explained why he had grandiose plans for the facility, though they never did pan out. The project needed the OK from the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Grand River Conservation Authority, the region and rezoning from the city.
“The whole golf industry is terrible; it’s awful,” he said four years ago.
“I owned and operated Cambridge Golf Club for over 20 years on Clyde Road, but those were during the good times. Ten years ago, the industry was great. You could make a decent living and enjoy what you were doing. There’s too many golf courses and we’re part of the problem. We have two nine-hole courses and you only need one really to do what we want to do.
“We offer a very decent product. The golf course is in excellent shape and it’s second-to-none condition wise, but there just isn’t the demand. That’s why we would like to expand into other areas.”